At times, stress and worry at work are unavoidable. Whether it’s a deadline creeping up faster than expected or an important meeting gone wrong, sometimes it’s difficult to compartmentalize worry and stress. It’s when those worries or stressors seep into other areas of our lives that they start to wreak havoc. What’s important to remember is that worrying is a reaction to a situation – and a reaction is something we can control.
I recently learned the below process for analyzing and dealing with worry which has helped me tremendously in my business and professional life. The four questions help outline what exactly is causing you stress, what the possible outcomes could be to the situation, and what the best possible solution/outcome is. When confronted with a stressful situation ask yourself and answer the following questions (I find that physically writing the answers down helps me process the situation more effectively):
- What is the problem?
- What are the causes of the problem?
- What are the possible solutions to the problem?
- What is the best possible solution?
Once you are able to fully analyze the situation, you can take the appropriate steps to move towards the best possible solution. I have even found that just the act of writing everything out has helped to assuage my original worry, and from there I’m able to move forwards. The more you worry, the bigger the worry gets. When you address it head-on you keep it small and manageable.
Remember: you can control your worry and you can prevent it from affecting your performance. At the end of the day there are situations you can control, and some you simply can’t. What matters the most is how you react to those stressors to keep your worries at bay.
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